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Second semester
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Learning outcomes of the course unit

1) Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the students will acquire the basic knowledge of architectures of arithmetic building blocks, they will understand strengths and weaknesses in terms of occupied area, of power consumption and propagation delay. Also, the students will gain the tools for analysis and design of high reliability electronic circuits and systems

2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding
The students will become aware of the issues related to the design of digital systems and will learn some possible solutions. In addition, they will be able to quantitatively assess the reliability of an electronic system and will have the knowledge to face autonomously the design of high reliability systems.Through simple laboratory experiences, the student will be able to implement some of the architectures presented during the lessons on FPGA by verifying pros and cons, acquiring greater awareness of what has been studied, while acquiring design skills.

Course contents summary

• Architectures of arithmetic building blocks
­ Datapahts in Digital Processor Architectures
­ the Adder, problems related to the propagation delay of ripplecarry adder
­ the Multiplier, serial and parallel circuits based on the Booth’s
recoding; dividers.
­ Floating-Point Arithmetic (IEEE-754) and the shifter peripheral circuitry

• The testing of electronic systems
- Introduction to the concept of testing
- Reliability and Testing
• Reliability:
- basic descriptive statistics and reliability concepts
- methods to predict and assure reliability
- the reliability of electronic systems
- the reliability of electronic devices
- techniques to improve reliability
- the reliability tests
- accelereted testing theory
- examples of failure modes, failure mechanisms and failure analysis of electronic components
• Statistical Quality Control:
- process control techniques
- Control chartsLaboratory exercises: implementation of some of the architectures presented during the lessons on FPGA

Course contents

Introduction: designing arithmetic building blocks (2h)
The Adder (14h)
• Single bit adder: Half Adder, Full Adder
• Carry-Ripple Adder
• Carry-Propagate Adder
• Carry-Lookahead Adder
• Manchester Carry Chain
• Carry Skip Adder
• Binary Tree CLA
• Serial binary adder
• The subtractor
The Multiplier (12h)
• Array multiplier
• Carry save multiplier
• Wallace tree compressor
• Multiplication with negative number: problems
• Booth multiplier and modified booth multiplier
• Serial multiplier
ALU Design: an example (2h)
Division algorithm and divider architecture (2h)
The floating point (10h)
• Standard IEEE
• The adder
• The multiplier
• The divider and the Newton method
Introduction to Quality and Reliability of Electronic Systems (20h)
• Introduction and the standards on quality management and quality assurance
• Quality improvement
• Reliability basics: terminology
• The reliability parameters and the failure time distributions
• Predicted reliability of equipment and systems
• The reliability prediction handbooks
• Failure Analysis Methods (FTA, FMEA, FMECA)
• The reliability tests
• the probability plotting
• the accelerated life testing
• The Failure Analysis
• Statistical process control

Laboratory activity (10h)

Recommended readings

Architecture of digital systems
Jan M. Rabaey, 'Digital Integrated Circuits - A Design Perspective' Prentice Hall

reliability concepts, reliability of systems
PDT O'Connor, Practical Reliability Engineering, John Wiley & Sons
P.A. Tobias, D. Trindade, Applied Reliability, Van Nostrand Reinholds

Quality control
D.C. Montgomery, Statistical Quality Control: A Modern Introduction, 7th Edition International Student Version, Wiley

Teaching methods

traditional classroom lessons, Laboratory activities

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam consists in an oral discussion, there are no tests during the course.
During the exam the student has to demonstrate to have mastered the basic principles of the architecture of integrated systems, understanding strengths and weaknesses with particular reference to the occupied area, power consumption and propagation delay. In addition, the student must demonstrate to have acquired the basic concepts for the design of high-reliability systems and to have the competence to verify the reliability goals.

Other informations

Professor’s notes are available on